Friday, 13 July 2007
Should severely obese children be taken into care on the grounds of neglect?
Cumbria County Council have taken an obese 8 year old girl into care. The girl is 5ft tall and is already having to wear size 16 clothes. The girls parents are said to be devastated and claim that their daughters weight problems are due to medical problems and genetics, not neglect. The girl's mother said: “Our world has fallen apart. Our daughter doesn’t overeat and she’s active. She’s always been chubby but she’s always out playing. The only bad thing we have given her is fizzy drinks.”
A small number of children around the country have already been taken into care on similar grounds. This is the first instance of Cumbria County Council taking this kind of action. Anne Ridgway, chairman of the Cumbria Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: “Parental behaviour that leads to childhood obesity can be a form of neglect. But a child’s weight becomes a safeguarding issue only in extreme cases and thankfully they are very rare.”
Colin Waine, the chairman of the National Obesity forum, said: “We feel that there is never an easy option in these circumstances, but the preferred management is to work with families from the time children are born, so their growth can be monitored regularly. We need to work with families so these problems do not escalate.”
Dr Matt Capehorn, head of an obesity clinic in Rotherham, South Yorkshire said: "No healthcare professional would want to break up a family unit but this has to be considered if the child's health is being put at risk."
Q. Should severely obese children be taken into care on the grounds of neglect?
Click: HERE to view the results.
(The results are archived by the British Library)